Kayaking is a very interesting water sport or activity and has gained popularity all over the world. Kayaks are used to navigate, for fishing purposes, for fun, and even as a competitive sport. You may hear, and have basic knowledge of kayaking, but have you ever read about some interesting facts about kayaking about its history. Let’s get to know about these, which are as follows:
THE INVENTION OF KAYAKS WAS AROUND 4000 YEARS BACK
Originally, kayaks were invented around 4000 years back for hunting purposes. You can see one of the oldest kayaks in Munich, Germany (i.e. in North America’s category of the Five Continents Museum). At that time, that was just created by the local people of Arctic North America, and other regions/countries don’t have any knowledge about it. Around the 1740s, Russians came to know about it. And then by the mid-1800s, it became popular in Europe, French, Germany, and then worldwide, as a sport with multiple kayak designs.
INUIT AND ALEUT WERE THE FIRST TO INVENT KAYAKS
Inuit, Aleut, and Yup’ik (were then called Eskimos who were from Canada, Greenland, and Alaska) are the earliest people from arctic North America, who invented kayaks. This means, Inuit and Aleut are the first ones who invented kayaks, but the main purpose of this invention was hunting or fishing. But with passing time, it gradually started getting popular. Now it gets modified and even used as a fun activity or a great water-sport.
KAYAKS WERE USED FOR HUNTING IN THE BEGINNING
Earlier, the main purpose of creating the kayaks was to use them for hunting or fishing. And that’s why they named this small water-craft as kayak, which actually means hunter’s boat. And even the word kayak also means man’s boat i.e. mainly used for catching the water animals. But nowadays, it is used as a fun activity as well as a competitive sport all over the world. Most people prefer to kayak to enjoy the beauty of nature while navigating through water surfaces.
EARLIER KAYAK’S WAS BUILT FROM THE SKIN OF THE SEAL
Ahead of time, the kayak was made from the animal’s skin, mostly by stitching the skin of the seal. And then give the outer finish of the kayak by stretching this stitched animal skin over the skeleton of the whalebone or wood structure. And use the fat of the whale to make kayaks waterproof. This is how initially the Inuits made the kayaks, which is totally different from how kayaks are built now. Now, kayaks are made from various materials i.e. from wood, rubber kind of fabric, carbon fiber, polyester, plastic, fiber-glass, etc. These are built by various new methods and designs by considering the purpose of kayaking.
SPEED AND THE LENGTH OF THE KAYAK
In general, longer kayaks are narrow, which means less drag, so they are good for attaining speed and hence are faster to navigate in a straight direction. Whereas, shorter kayaks are wider, which means more drag, so they are not that fast but are quite stable, and work best when you need to make turns. There are many factors like hull design, the width of the kayak, the technique of paddling, the shape of the kayak, etc. which contribute a lot to either make the kayak faster or slower. So be careful to choose the type/design of the kayak as per your purpose for kayaking.
IN 1936, KAYAK RACES WERE INCLUDED IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES
It was the first time in 1936 when kayaking named flat-water racing was included in the Berlin Olympic games. Then in 1948, the first women’s kayak racing was also included in the Olympics. In 1972, the first white-water racing was introduced in Olympics. This is how it kept on getting modified and even getting more and more popular water-sport all over the world.
AMERICAN SYSTEM (THE INTERNATIONAL SCALE OF RIVER DIFFICULTY) IS USED BY THE KAYAKERS
Nowadays, kayakers and the rapid-water rafters use the American rating system (called The International Scale of River Difficulty), which is the international scale to get to know about the rapid speed of the river. The difficulty of the river is classified on the basis of classes i.e. from I to VI, that specifies the level of difficulty of the river, which in turn you’ll get to know which river is best suited for beginners, intermediates, experts, etc. with this American rating system.
TWO MAIN EXTREME KAYAKERS ARE FRONZ RONER AND TYLER BRADT
In 1928, Fronz Roner was called an extreme kayaker and got popular by becoming the first who crossed the Atlantic Ocean. As a whole, he traveled a very long distance to reach Puerto Rico from Lisbon i.e. around 4000 miles. One of the other popular extreme kayakers is Tyler Bradt i.e. he did kayaking from the highest white-water and made a world record in 2009. They both are well known for their courage and fearlessness to make a record.
PIGEON RIVER AND KAYAKING
Thousands of kayakers i.e. around 60,000 to 70,000 who are interested in rapid-water rafting visited the pigeon river in 2003 to have an adventurous kayaking experience. But some lower part of the pigeon river is quite safe and best for beginners as well i.e. who just want to navigate, explore nature and have fun. This is also one of the lesser-known facts about the pigeon river and kayaking.